Italy have claimed today’s Hyundai Hopman Cup tie against Germany 2-1 at Perth Arena.
Andreas Seppi and Francesca Schiavone were made to work hard before edging past Tommy Haas and Tatjana Malek 6-4 7-5 in the deciding mixed doubles.
Earlier Schiavone had beaten Malek in three sets to level the tie after Haas defeated Seppi in two tight tiebreak sets.
Victory kept title hopes alive for the Italians after an opening 2-1 loss against the top-seeded Serbian pairing of Ana Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic on Monday.
Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion, fought back to close out a gritty 3-6 6-3 6-3 victory against Malek in 114 minutes.
German Malek arrived in Perth about 2am today after answering an SOS from tournament organisers to replace injured star Andrea Petkovic.
Petkovic, who has already flown back to Germany for knee surgery, was injured against Australia’s Ashleigh Barty during last Saturday night’s tie.
Malek flew from Miami and after less than 12 hours sleep, predictably started sluggishly against Schiavone.
She lost the first three games before finding her range, rattling off eight consecutive games to take the first set and an early break in the second set.
Schiavone regained her composure, winning 10 of the next 12 games, to clinch the second set and open up a commanding 4-1 lead in the deciding set.
Haas beat Seppi in two tiebreak sets to give the Germans the perfect start to today’s tie.
Last year's ATP Comeback Player of the Year, Haas claimed the match 7-6 (3) 7-6 (7) in 115 minutes.
It was a tight battle, the only two breaks of serve coming in the ninth and 10th games of the first set.Haas bounced back after losing his opening encounter of Hopman Cup against Australia’s Bernard Tomic 7-6 (6) 3-6 7-5.